Digital Cameras - Minolta Dimage G600 Test Images
|I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for the test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISOsetting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all*that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested inthe information need wade through it!|
(This is my new "Outdoor" Portrait test - read more about it here.)
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way, and why I shoot it with no fill flash or reflector to open the shadows. The object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the DiMAGE G600 handled the did a fairly good job with it.
The shot at right was taken with no exposure compensation adjustment, and the resulting exposure and tonality are almost perfect. The main series was shot using the camera's low contrast and high saturation settings, producing excellent results under the harsh lighting. (Cutting the contrast also cut the color saturation quite a bit, but boosting it back up with the saturation adjustment produced a good-looking image.) I chose the Daylight white balance setting for the series, as it produced a little less color cast than did the Auto setting.
Skin tones are a just slightly more saturated than in real life, but still good, and the blue flowers in the bouquet are almost dead on. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, but the amount of purple the G600 shows here is very close to their actual color.) The high saturation setting boosts vibrancy throughout the frame, but goes a little too far on the red flowers. Still, overall color and saturation are very good. Resolution is very high, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the frame. Detail in the shadows is very limited, however, and image noise is quite high there as well.
To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +1.0 EV, see files G60OUTLCHSAM1.HTM
through G60OUTLCHSAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index
Excellent resolution and detail, though slightly high contrast.
Color and exposure are similar to the wider shot above, and the G600's 3x zoom lens does a good job preventing distortion of Marti's features. The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, resulting in fairly bright midtones, but somewhat high contrast. Shot using the G600's Auto white balance option, this image is a bit warmer-toned than the longer shot above. Detail is excellent, with great definition in Marti's hair and face, as well as in the texture of the cloth background.
To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +1.0 EV, see files G60FACAM1.HTM
through G60FACAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
The flash underexposed at its default setting, but a slight boost produced a good exposure. Some yellow cast from the room lighting though.
The G600's built-in flash was quite dim at its default
exposure setting, requiring an exposure compensation adjustment of +0.7
EV to get better coverage. (The shot taken at +0.3
EV wasn't much brighter than the default setting.) Overall color is
somewhat yellowish, with a trace of an orange cast on Marti's hair from
the strong incandescent room lighting. I also shot with the camera's Slow-Sync
flash mode, which also required a +0.7 EV
exposure compensation boost. (The default
exposure had even lighting and coverage, but was quite dark overall.)
Because the longer exposure
allows more ambient light into the image, the exposure has a stronger
orange cast from the background lighting.
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Pretty good color with the Incandescent white balance, though still a little red. Very high exposure compensation required though, and some trouble with highlights.
This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting. The G600's Auto white balance resulted in a bit more of a yellow cast than I'd like to see, while the Incandescent setting had a lesser red tint. I chose the Incandescent setting for the main series, though the white shirt is reddish and the blue flowers a bit dark and purplish. The shot at right was taken with a +1.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, quite a bit more than is normally required for this shot. In order to get a bright enough exposure on Marti's features, I had to sacrifice some highlights in the white shirt.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.7 EV, see files G60INTP0.HTM
through G60INTP5.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Excellent resolution and detail, and nearly accurate color.
The G600's Auto white balance setting did
a good job here, producing nearly accurate color and white values with
only a hint of a warm cast. The Daylight
setting resulted in a warmer cast, though results weren't too bad. Resolution
is very high, and detail is strong in the tree limbs, front shrubbery,
and house front. (The G600's six-megapixel CCD really stretches the limits
of this poster as a test target. Even though the poster was made from
a 500MB scan of a 4x5 negative shot with a tack-sharp lens, the G600 extracts
almost all of the detail that's to be found here.) Details are also sharp
throughout the frame, without any noticeable softness in the corners.
Excellent resolution and detail, with a good dynamic range.
This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.
This is my ultimate "resolution shot,"
given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this, and the
G600 does a great job. Leaf patterns are clear and distinct in the tree
limbs over the roof, as well as in the fine foliage in front of the house.
The brick pattern and house trim also show a lot of fine detail with good
clarity. In-camera sharpening does a good job here, with crisp details
throughout the frame and little sign of over-sharpening. (And further
strong, tight unsharp masking in Photoshop(tm) produces very nice results.
- Try 0.3 pixel radius and 150%, for example.) The top right corner of
the image shows a little softness, but by and large the G600's images
are uniformly sharp across the entire frame. The camera loses some detail
in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, but handles the
shadow area above the front door very well. Overall color is good, and
exposure is about right. The table below shows a standard resolution and
quality series, followed by ISO, saturation, contrast, and color series.
Lens Zoom Range
A typical 3x zoom range.
I routinely shoot this series of images to show the field of view for each camera, with the lens at full wide angle, at maximum telephoto (3x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The G600's lens is equivalent to a 39-117mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a slightly conservative wide angle to a moderate telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
A slight red color cast, but great resolution and detail.
This shot is often a tough test for digicams, as the abundance of blue
in the composition frequently tricks white balance systems into producing
a warm color balance. The G600's Auto white
balance setting did the best job here, despite a slight red cast. (The
Daylight setting produced a stronger red cast.) Though the red color
cast isn't as strong with the Auto setting, the blue background and robe
have purplish tints. Resolution is excellent, as the embroidery of the
blue robe and on the red vest show a lot of fine detail. (The original
data file for this poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the G600
are definitely capable of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)
A small macro area with good detail in the dollar bill. Flash performs pretty well, though with some falloff along the bottom of the frame.
The G600 did very well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area
of only 1.90 x 1.42 inches (48 x 36 millimeters). Resolution is high,
and detail is strong in the dollar bill. However, the coins and brooch
are soft due to the very short shooting distance (and probably some softness
in the corners as well). As with most digicam macro modes, the image here
is fairly soft in the corners, blurring the details of the dollar bill
slightly. The G600's flash throttled down very
well for the macro area, though its position on the camera is a little
high, resulting in a shadow in the lower portion of the frame.
"Davebox" Test Target
Good overall exposure, though a somewhat reddish color cast.
The G600's Auto white balance setting produced
warm color here, though results were better than the stronger red cast
of the Daylight setting. Exposure is good,
maybe a little bright, and the G600 distinguishes the subtle tonal variations
of the Q60 target well. Though the large color blocks are a little warm-toned,
hue accuracy and saturation are actually pretty good. The G600 for the
most part avoids the boosted color saturation that's popular in consumer
digicams, but does still really jump up reds and (interestingly) greens.
Most other colors are surprisingly accurate for a consumer digicam. Detail
is moderate in the shadow area of the charcoal briquettes, and image noise
is quite high.
Pretty good low-light performance, though a slight reddish cast from the dim lighting. Poor autofocus performance in dim light though.
The G600 produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, at the ISO 200 and 400 sensitivity settings. At ISOs 50 and 100, images were bright to about 1/4 foot-candle (2.7 lux) and 1/8 foot-candle (1.3 lux) respectively. Color balance was reddish with the Auto white balance, and increased in intensity at the dimmer exposures. Focus is a little soft in many of the shots, as the G600's autofocus system has difficulty with dim lighting. (It can only focus successfully to about two foot-candles, a light level about twice as bright as normal city street lighting.) Noise is fairly low, though it increases at ISOs 200 and 400 (further skewing the color balance). The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.
(Note: If you'd like to use a light meter to check light levels for subjects you might be interested in shooting, a light level of one foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of two seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100.)
Flash Range Test
An underpowered flash.
In my testing, the G600's flash underexposed the target even at the minimum 8 foot distance I test from, and its brightness decreased steadily from there on out. (This is unfortunately fairly characteristic of compact digicams, as it's hard to fit big flash capacitors into small camera cases.) Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
Excellent resolution, 1,450 lines of "strong detail." Slightly high barrel distortion.
The G600 performed very well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 1,000-1,100 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,450 lines, although some less conservative readers and reviewers might argue for as much as 1,600 lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,900 lines.
Using its "MTF 50" criteria, Imatest reported average resolution of 1,188 line widths/picture height, or 1,223 LW/PH when normalized to a standard 1-pixel sharpening.
Optical distortion on the G600 is higher than average at the wide-angle
end, where I measured approximately 0.9 percent barrel distortion. The
telephoto end fared a little better, as I found only 0.2 percent barrel
distortion. Chromatic aberration is very low, showing only two to three
pixels of moderate coloration on either side of the target lines. (This
distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects
at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) The G600's
images are also unusually sharp from corner to corner, further evidence
of a high-quality lens.
Resolution Series, ~50mm equivalent focal length
Resolution Test, Wide and Tele
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
A typically tight optical viewfinder, but very accurate LCD monitor.
The G600's optical viewfinder was a little tight, showing only approximately 85 percent frame accuracy at both wide angle and telephoto zoom settings. The LCD monitor fared much better, showing about 99 percent frame accuracy. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the G600's LCD monitor is essentially perfect in that regard, but I'd like to see a more accurate optical viewfinder. (Even though most digicams average about 85% accuracy with their optical viewfinders, I still consider that too low.) Flash distribution is fairly even at wide angle, with just a little falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform.
G600 Test Images
G600 Imatest Results
G600 "Picky Details"
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